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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5707/upsidedown-luddism-the-case-of-immigration/

Upsidedown Luddism: The Case of Immigration

October 3, 2006 by

Following the pioneering work of Hans Hoppe, Stephen Cox argues on the contrary that it is perfectly consistent for a libertarian to oppose “open borders.” Cox’s article is lengthy and covers many different points. I agree with him (and Hoppe) that there is no such thing as a “right” to immigrate into a country, and thus advocates of open borders should stop using this silly language. Having said that, I disagree with virtually every other point in Cox’s analysis. In the present essay, I focus largely on his economic arguments. FULL ARTICLE

{ 33 comments }

David C October 3, 2006 at 10:40 am

Thanks for the very thoughtfully rebuttal. IMHO, the fact that people can exploit the welfare state and overburden the taxpayers is a very compelling reason for killing the welfare state, but not a compelling reason to exile poor people. The fact that the popular mob can vote away peoples liberty is a very compelling reason for putting liberties over democracy, but not a compelling one for denying their liberties even more. The the fact that poor people are more ignorant about freedom and liberty is a very compelling argument of why it’s so important to engage them like Robert Murphy is vis this article, not a compelling reason to lock out people seeking voluntary work.

We should’t play in to the hands of the politicians. The only reason why they are so keen to attack illegal immigrants is because immigrants don’t vote. By letting them attack, we simply allow them to distract from their own miserable failed economic policies.

Francisco Torres October 3, 2006 at 10:41 am

This is the first time I have ever read the idea that immigrant labor displaces machinery out of a job. It merely reaffirms in me the feeling that anti-immigration folks are grasping at straws.

Nick Bradley October 3, 2006 at 10:58 am

Robert Murphy,

“Open borders libertarians don’t want to pass a law that foreigners should be able to move in; they simply oppose laws preventing people from moving in.”

– I think what you’re trying to say here is that libertarians should support a system that is neutral towards immigration, neither anti-immigration nor pro-immigration. Is this correct?

If so, then libertarians “simply oppose laws preventing people from moving in”, where does that leave the policies that ENCOURAGE people to move in? I am, of course, talking about the twin subsidies to immigration:

First, there are the eggregious subsidies to agriculture and textiles that cause a severe overproduction in agriculture and textiles. Such state-encouraged expanded production significantly increases the demand for farm labor and textile workers. Reducing this subsidy alone would seriously curtail low-skilled immigration.

Second, the state expands the supply side of the equation by allowing illegal immigrants and their children to enter the country and recieve a bounty of “public goods” (I use quotation marks because I believe the theory of public goods is a fallacy). Such public good(ies) include $12,000+ a year for public education, free medical care, scholarships for their children, workers’ compensation (come here to pick strawberries until you blow your back out in 10 years, then get on the dole), and so on and so on.

If such goodies were not available, the flow of low-skilld labor into the US would drop dramatically. If immigrants had to provide for their own medical care, education, etc., the US would have an immigration policy similar to that of the 19th Century: Those who are industrious enough to make it without a social safety net will go back home (as roughly half of immigrants have done in US history).

So in conclusion, policies you propose will simply result in a heavily government-subsidized immigration program. We have not even talked about other “externalities” associated with low-skilled immigrant labor, such as “knowledge of Thomas Paine”, as you put it, extremely high crime rates, high out-of-wedlock birth rates, high high school dropout rates for their children (even those who were born in the US), and the incompatibility of foreign cultures with what’s left of our libral tradition; if immigrants came from a myriad of different cultures, immigrants would be more likely to adopt US culture, and vice-versa. Historically Statist immigrant voting patterns must also be considered.

Oh, and why no criticism of Hoppe in your article? You stated that Cox built on Hoppe, but didn’t ciritcize Hoppe. Why?

Nick Bradley October 3, 2006 at 11:08 am

David C,

How many illegal immigrants do you think read Robert Murphy’s article today? How many minds were changed? How about zero. Hispanic immigrants (let’s be honest, that is who we are talking about) get their news from extremely pro-immigration spanish television (since many do not read).

And what makes you think that illegals don’t vote? It’s “discrimination” to check an ID card to vote, for goodness sake.

Take a look at the disgraceful election of Loretta Sanchez in L.A. back in ’96 as just one example.

How to Steal an Election

Otto Kerner October 3, 2006 at 11:14 am

Nick Bradley writes, “where does that leave the policies that ENCOURAGE people to move in?” But can there be any doubt that libertarians are 100% against the “twin subsidies” that Nick describes? Libertarian policies, then, do not “result in a heavily government-subsidized immigration program”.

Evans Munyemesha October 3, 2006 at 12:24 pm

Robert Murphy,

I find your argument unanswerable. My only addition to what you have so well demonstrated in so few words is that the argument for open borders, properly understood, is an argument ultimately for a Stateless Global Society.

David Spellman October 3, 2006 at 1:19 pm

I have heard that immigrants actually pay more taxes than they consume in government services and that the crime rate among immigrants is lower than among similar socio-economic status citizens. I don’t have references, but the poster who claims otherwise didn’t cite references either. I would like to see some statistics showing whether immigrants actually are a social problem as the opponents of immigration often claim without support.

As far as the article goes, the big message I got was that no one would come here unless present property owners were paying for their labor and willing to rent or sell living accomodations. In other words, if we as a group really didn’t have any need or desire for immigrants, they would not be able to find work or a place to live. The fact that they can by the millions seems de facto proof of the virtue of immigration.

And it is not just cheap labor we crave. As a computer programmer, I compete with immigrants who work cheaper and drive down my professional white collar salary. It directly hurts my standard of living, but I still am willing to allow immigration because it makes sense to me. I would rather be free and less wealthy than live in tyranny with a higher paycheck. Freedom comes with a tangible cost.

Reactionary October 3, 2006 at 1:40 pm

David,

“In other words, if we as a group really didn’t have any need or desire for immigrants, they would not be able to find work or a place to live. The fact that they can by the millions seems de facto proof of the virtue of immigration.”

Federal law prohibits discrimination in housing, credit, government benefits, and “public accomodation” (e.g., lunch counters) based on race or national origin. Furthermore, so long as Jose presents facially valid (i.e., forged) proof of US citizenship, the employer faces legal liability for refusing to hire the otherwise qualified applicant in favor of a white (or black) US native.

As far as statistics on the net costs of immigration, the folks at vdare.com and the Center for Immigration Reform can help you out. I’d also invite you to visit the AFDC office, county jail, and public hospital in your town. Then you can swing by the EASL departments at your local public schools. Then go see the aging relatives from the old country who were brought here under family reunification provisions and steered onto Medicare/Medicaid and SSI. Tell them all to check out mises.org.

Kristian Joensen October 3, 2006 at 2:16 pm

Reactionary, David(AFAIK) as well as Robert Murphy in the original article are talking about this from an Anarcho-capitalist perspective. Not from the perspective of the current society. They are saying that in an Anarcho-capilist society borders both would and should be open.

I fully agree with them.

Reactionary October 3, 2006 at 2:27 pm

Kristian,

In an anarcho-capitalist society, it would be entirely up to the property owners as to whether the borders of their property should be open or closed. Immigrants would either have to acquire rights of passage or be shot as trespassers.

I can foresee people in an anarcho-capitalist society forming, as they do now, communities for mutual defense and infrastructure. These communities would undoubtedly have rules for access to the property by their members’ invitees. Some members may end up disagreeing with the rules, in which event they will just have to leave the community.

Curt Howland October 3, 2006 at 2:30 pm

Nick, “why no criticism of Hoppe?”

Hoppe’s basis for restriction of immigration is one of private property. That if _everyone_ decided not to rent, sell, or allow transit to immigrants, then immigration stops.

But while Hoppe’s extreme is based upon private property, what Cox has done is say that it is OK for the government to _force_ other people not to rent, sell, or allow transit to someone who the government deems “illegal”.

It makes no difference what so ever if the arbitrary border is city, county, state or national. If I am willing to rent/sell to someone, who are you to tell me I may not? To say it is fine to voluntarily cross one arbitrary line, but not another, is hypocrisy.

Hoppe is not being hypicritical, merely extreme (and in my opinion needlessly so, for it has allowed Hoppe to be attacked personally as a racist and elitist).

Cox, on the other hand, has made the error of identifying a “collective” as a valid decision making entity for individuals.

Reactionary is correct that there are lots of laws already creating an environment of arbitrary chaos in terms of rent/sell/hire decisions. While it’s easy to say “Until there is no more of these intrusions, we _need_ immigration controlls”, this is just falling back into the cycle that Mises identified so very long ago: Every intervention creates problems that call for more interventions, which create yet more problems, ad infinitum.

It is educational to remember that in openly Socialist countries, one may not move without permission. Why? Because open immigration would create problems! …ah, yeah.

I have no doubt that Massachusetts would like to erect barriers to the movement of people from lower-paying places like Alabama if they could. California sure did! It is the blocking of these short-sighted restrictions (immigration controlls) that created the largest free-trade and free-movement economy in the world, for a while anyway, the United States!

Again: To argue that it’s ok to freely cross one arbitrary line but not another is hypocrisy, historically demonstrable to be destructive to productivity and happiness.

Larry Ruane October 3, 2006 at 2:31 pm

To those who say we must restrict immigration until we eliminate the welfare state, I say: How are we ever going to get rid of the welfare state unless it is put under pressure?

At the same time, there’s nothing unlibertarian about the view the immigrants should not be allowed to vote or receive welfare. (I actually advocate that for non-immigrants as well!) As I think Lew Rockwell said, the current situation, in which it’s fairly easy for anyone to become an illegal immigrant, is actually pretty good.

Reactionary October 3, 2006 at 2:55 pm

Curt,

“To argue that it’s ok to freely cross one arbitrary line but not another is hypocrisy, historically demonstrable to be destructive to productivity and happiness.”

Why do you call national boundaries “arbitrary?” Are property lines not “arbitrary?” You can’t see them from space either.

Would it be destructive to productivity and happiness if I forbid you from bringing in your buddies in the Russian mafia, or people with communicable diseases? How many people should you be allowed to invite? One thousand? One million? Ten million?

greg October 3, 2006 at 3:12 pm

Kristian Joensen> They are saying that in an Anarcho-capi[ta]list society borders both would and should be open.

More precisely, there would not be “open borders” (political borders); there simply would be no borders of the political variety to even consider in anarcho-capitalism. As far as private property goes, those boundaries would certainly not be open, except by invitation/permission.

Nick Bradley October 3, 2006 at 5:24 pm

Curt,

Hoppe’s argument is that if all property were private, the owners would have the right to restrict immigration to their property. Since government doesn’t actually OWN property, but is merely being a caretaker, it can act in the best interest of the collective owners.

In Hoppe’s “Democracy: The God that Failed”, Hoppe rebukes the claim that “pressure” can be put on the welfare state via massive immigration. He states that the culture our (still remaining) liberty is basd on will be destroyed; nothing short of civilizational suicide.

“It is educational to remember that in openly Socialist countries, one may not move without permission. Why? Because open immigration would create problems! …ah, yeah.”

In socialist countries, their immigration controls are designed to keep people IN, not OUT. I suppose somebody could immigrate to a socialist state if they wanted to. A teenage kid immigrated to Cuba the other day to be with family.

Otto Kerner October 3, 2006 at 6:15 pm

Reactionary, we are ancaps (or private law libertarians, as I prefer) precisely because we believe that property lines are not arbitrary, but national boundaries are. I’m sure someone can explain the historical reasons for this conclusion if you’d like.

Anyway, using the justness of national boundaries to justify immigration strikes me as close to a reductio ad absurdum, at least as far as the Americas are concerned. It is common knowledge that, from the perspective of political entities, all or almost all the land in North America was stolen from various American Indian peoples. Now, I don’t think this creates a valid claim against most individual property holders today, but, if one accepts political boundaries as legitimate, I don’t know how one can avoid the conclusion that there the territory of the United States justly belongs to someone else, and so the U.S. government, at least, has no right to regulate its borders.

Anthony Gregory October 3, 2006 at 6:46 pm

“In socialist countries, their immigration controls are designed to keep people IN, not OUT. I suppose somebody could immigrate to a socialist state if they wanted to. A teenage kid immigrated to Cuba the other day to be with family.”

Sweden has very restrictive immigration and naturalization procedures, from what I’ve read, as do most of the other welfare states in Europe.

David MacRae October 3, 2006 at 7:33 pm

Excellent article. The author has no notion of economics.

However you didn’t glom onto the fundamental hypocrisy at the heart of his screed. He claims that poor people are incapable of paying their way. And note well, this is not just about immigrants. American-born poor people cannot pay for health care and cannot put their kids through school.

The Joe down at the 7-11 can’t afford to get his cuts fixed any more than the un-stamped immigrant at Tysons.

Just how could this happen? Well, I ask the question. Here we have a “professor” of 19th century literature with a cushy job. He “works” maybe 20 hours a weeks and has excellent health benefits. People flock to him and pay big bucks for his “services”.

Why?

Well, his job is to separate Americans into two groups – those who have the right to a high-paying job and those who have to stitch up their own cuts. The government ensures that there is no comptetion against his certification cartel and then he whines that those who have been left out in the cold somehow don’t carry their weight.

Strange world A parasite claims that his host is living off him!

CATIM October 3, 2006 at 8:50 pm

David,

Good Point. As I’ve yelled my head off on other posts on immmigration, those who fear unwashed masses pouring across the border would recoil just as quickly from the very Caucasian inhabitants of trailer parks from the Atlantic to the Sabine River (at least in the south)…to say nothing of the urban descendents of the freedmen. but they’re stuck with those poor people, so they attack the ones they can…the ones comming here from more severe poverty.

David C October 3, 2006 at 9:03 pm

Nick Bradley,

How many illegal immigrants do you think read Robert Murphy’s article today? How many minds were changed? How about zero.

My point was that they need to be engaged more, and your statement proves it.

Hispanic immigrants (let’s be honest, that is who we are talking about) get their news from extremely pro-immigration spanish television (since many do not read).

I find that hard to believe, sounds like a stereotype to me. I live in a very Mexicanized neighborhood and contrary to myth, the large majority are reasonably educated, most work in the services sector and not textiles and agriculture, and most contribute more than they take from the system.

And what makes you think that illegals don’t vote? It’s “discrimination” to check an ID …

Once again, sounds like a compelling argument for cleaning up the voter registration setup, not a compelling argument against immigration. So the bottom line is that immigrants benifit our country more than they hurt it, and they are getting a bad wrap in the name of a system they didn’t vote for.

nate-m April 2, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Yes….

The solutions are not very complicated:

1. Get rid of the drug war and you get rid of the escalating violence along our borders. The recreational drug market is a multi-billion dollar business. People at all levels of society, from Congressmen, Doctors, Judges, CEOs, CTOs, CFOs, all the way down to ditch diggers and homeless buy drugs illegally for recreational usage. The ‘Drug Ware’ is hypocritical and self-destructive. It’s the same exact thing as the effect that prohibition had. The better the government does at enforcing the drug laws, the more profitable it gets to break them and the more violence it causes.

2. Make it vastly easier to come into the country to work, to learn, to live. If people want to come in to work and people want to hire them… then it should be allowed. Absolutely allowed.

3. Get rid of the welfare state and you get rid of the moochers and parasites. Also you prompt our own people to get out and compete in the market place instead of sitting at home waiting for better jobs to come along.

Do all those things and you will pretty much solve the immigration issue.

This sort of stuff is things that the American public don’t want to hear, but it’s the honest truth.

Nick Bradley October 4, 2006 at 3:32 am

David C, CATIM, ALL,

Yes, this is a utlitarian question. But do you think that the US would be MORE libertarian after masss immigration of low-skilled labor or LESS libertarian? Perhaps the answers will help us develop an a priori reason why that may be.

My answer is that unless we are seeing mass immigration of middle and upper-class businessmen, enterpeneurs, and professionals, the answer is clearly no.

Under our current system, which is more democratic than republican (in the classical sense), the peopel can vote to expropriate virtually and good or service produced by somebody else. Vitually nothing is off limits. With voter franshice expanded to include all adults over the age of 18, excluding felons (for now anyway; Hillary may get her way), even the bottom rung of society. The Left gets its proletariat. Have you ever wondered why Labor Unions now SUPPORT immigration, whereas historically they were the most vocal opponents of it?

Let’s take a look at Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s “On Free Immigration and Forced Integration”.

Hoppe first discusses what a privately-wned government (i.e. a monarchy) would do in this situation: minimize emigration of the productive and immigration of the non-productive, maximize the emigration of the non-productive and the immigration of the productive. This would increase the long-term value of his country.

Hoppe then, however, turns to caretaker government, i.e. a democracy:

“As far as emigration policy is concerned, this implies that for a democratic ruler it makes little, if any, difference whether productive or unproductive people, geniuses or bums leave the country. They have all one equal vote. In fact, democratic rulers might well be more concerned about the loss of a bum than that of a productive genius. While the loss of the latter would obviously lower the capital value of the country and loss of the former might actually increase it, a democratic ruler does not own the country. In the short run, which most interests a democratic ruler, the bum, voting most likely in favor of egalitarian measures, might be more valuable than the productive genius who, as egalitarianism’s prime victim, will more likely vote against the democratic ruler. For the same reason, a democratic ruler, quite unlike a king, undertakes little to actively expel those people whose presence within the country constitutes a negative externality (human trash, which drives individual property values down). In fact, such negative externalities – unproductive parasites, bums, and criminals – are likely to be his most reliable supporters.”

Hoppe then moves on to looking at what a proper libertarian policy would be for the US and W Europe (which I have advocated before):

“The current situation in the United States and in Western Europe has nothing whatsoever to do with “free” immigration. It is forced integration, plain and simple, and forced integration is the predictable outcome of democratic – one-man-one-vote – rule. Abolishing forced integration requires a de-democratization of society, and ultimately the abolition of democracy. More specifically, the authority to admit or exclude should be stripped from the hands of the central government and re-assigned to the states, provinces, cities, towns, villages, residential districts, and ultimately to private property owners and their voluntary associations. “

– I have proposed in the past that immigration policy revert back to the states, perhaps even lower is possible. States would sponsor immigrants for x number of years before they could apply for US citizenship. Under this time period, freedom of movement ouside of the state’s borders would be restricted (unless arrangements were made with bordering states), and the immigrant would not be subjct to Federal taxation or Federal law. The individual state will decide how many immigrants it wll recieve each year, the cultural origin of its immigrants, and the skills sets of its immigrants. States would probably elect to deny immigrants access to public good(ie)s for x periods of time, or require the head of the household to immigrate years before he can bring his children. Perhaps even the county where the migrant’s initial employment resided would have to vouch for him as well. Under such a system, the County would vouch for the immigrant’s work permit for x period of time.

Regardless, a sub-national immigration policy would avoid forced integration of peoples and seriously cut back on subsidies to immigrant labor.

Later on in Hoppe’s Article, he goes on to state what shoul be done if a democracy cannot decentralize immigration policy:

“What should one hope for and advocate as the relatively correct immigration policy, however, as long as the democratic central state is still in place and successfully arrogates the power to determine a uniform national immigration policy? The best one may hope for, even if it goes against the “nature” of a democracy and thus is not very likely to happen, is that the democratic rulers act as if they were the personal owners of the country and as if they had to decide who to include and who to exclude from their own personal property (into their very own houses). This means following a policy of utmost discrimination: of strict discrimination in favor of the human qualities of skill, character, and cultural compatibility.

More specifically, it means distinguishing strictly between “citizens” (naturalized immigrants) and “resident aliens” and excluding the latter from all welfare entitlements. It means requiring as necessary, for resident alien status as well as for citizenship, the personal sponsorship by a resident citizen and his assumption of liability for all property damage caused by the immigrant. It implies requiring an existing employment contract with a resident citizen; moreover, for both categories but especially that of citizenship, it implies that all immigrants must demonstrate through tests not only (English) language proficiency, but all-around superior (above-average) intellectual performance and character structure as well as a compatible system of values – with the predictable result of a systematic pro-European immigration bias.”

David White October 4, 2006 at 7:23 am

Hoppe is quite right about forced integration. And since the rulers in a democracy don’t care who votes so long as they get more votes than their opponents, the more voters (bodies) the merrier.

Furthermore, since the welfare state depends on a “worker ponzi” for its funding, and since the domestic workforce is rapidly drying up, the “solution” is to domesticate foreigners, plans for which are fully underway in the form of the so-called Security and Prosperity Partnership — http://www.spp.gov — and the creation of an EU-like North American Union complete with its own euro-like currency — http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=15017

That is, the “solution” to the US’s immigration problem is essentially make Mexico our 51st state, the better for its 110 million people to keep the ponzi going.

Francisco Torres October 4, 2006 at 9:10 am

Any paranoid delusions being besides the point, the fact is that immigration to the US is in function of the demand for workers and little else. People do not come to the US just to receive welfare – most immigrants when polled or interviewed will tell you that they risk their lives to find work. It is also obvious that only the most productive people immigrate: if they wanted to be UNproductive, they could do that perfectly at home once they consider the risks and costs of immigration.

Philanthropic Patriot October 4, 2006 at 1:37 pm

Nice rebuttal.

The welfare and voting arguments against immigration were never very convincing since logically that would end in a libertarian position opposing reproductive rights for the poor.

I agree that the best thing that Libertarianism can bring to the table at this point in history is a consistent philosophy that brings attention the inconsistencies in the other major political lines of thought.

Nick Bradley October 5, 2006 at 5:48 am

Francisco Torres,

“Any paranoid delusions being besides the point, the fact is that immigration to the US is in function of the demand for workers and little else.”

You make a good point, but you are missing the big picture. Demand for low-skilled, dirt cheap labor has bean gratly inflated by subsidies to the agricultural and textile industries. This is in addition to generous subsidies the US provides for immigrants to make them more comfortable when they get here.

Essentially, The USG is intervening on both the supply AND the demand side.

Nick Bradley October 5, 2006 at 5:50 am

David White,

The only positive I could see about N. American Union is if Canadian or Mexican states demand decentrlization of power from Washington as a precondition to joining. Under such a scenario, Americans would benefit from such a setup.

David White October 5, 2006 at 7:34 pm

Nick Bradley:

Americans will only benefit with TRUE decentralization — i.e., the collapse of the federal government and the devolution of power back to its constituent states (but not stopping there).

A North American Union, on the other hand, would be but the next step in the drive toward Global Union — i.e., a world state that will be to humanity what truth is to a politician.

I’d have more to say, but II need to sign off before my opinions are scrutinized by Homeland Security (hi guys):

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/04/us/04monitor.html?_r=3&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

George T. Kysor October 6, 2006 at 3:41 pm

David Spellman

“In other words, if we as a group really didn’t have any need or desire for immigrants, they would not be able to find work or a place to live. The fact that they can by the millions seems de facto proof of the virtue of immigration.”

Is the fact that millions participate in government politics de facto proof of the virtue of government?

mark October 7, 2006 at 9:12 am

Each year the science web site the EDGE.com posits a question. What is your dangerous idea? Something that you can’t prove but may be true.

My dangerous idea is that neither I nor anybody else can have a dangerous idea.

The very belief that one is a “free thinker” is a myth and because one is not “free to think” he is not free to dispose of the myths that he has.

Explains a lot doesn’t it?

Len Flynn November 2, 2006 at 10:47 pm

I do not shrink from the imaginary scenario of legions of immigrants crossing the border to sign on to welfare, Medicaid/Medicare, free hospital care, etc. Nearly all “illegals” come here to work and earn for themselves and their families. But let us imagine droves of welfare loafers and other slackers immigrating for the “free” hand-outs that the welfare state provides.
In my mind we libertarians should shout (like GWB’s notorious quote): “Bring ‘em on!” The vile welfare state must die and I say “Speed the day.” One of the most useful aspects of such an open border would be the destruction of the welfare state.
Keeping immigrants out to preserve welfare hand-outs for U.S. citizens is about the most
“unlibertarian” argument I can imagine.

Lyle June 9, 2007 at 10:31 am

John Stuart Mill asked the question: To what extent can government be empowered to control human behavior? Mill attempts to answer this question in his essay On Liberty and comes to the conclusion that men generally agree on what men ought not to do but disagree on what men ought to do. Therefore, the proper role of government, if one exists, is limited to punishing men for doing that which they ought not. Those things which men ought not to do are actions that infringe upon the life, liberty, or property of other individuals. In this sense, where government is limited to its proper function, everyone is freer because justice is safeguarded.

This brings us to Dr. Murphy’s case against national boundaries and whether government has any right to defend its citizens from military, economic, or social invasion that infringe upon their right to life, liberty, and property respectively. In Dr. Murphy’s ideal and utopian society, men do not gather into gangs, mobs, or governments to plunder and kill their fellow beings because everyone is a willing libertarian. In the real world, we know this not to be the case and such was not the case at the time the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution. To defend the colonies and their citizens from English oppression, lines had to be drawn and armies raised. These lines are called borders. Borders are essential to the protection of life, liberty, and property. It is the communists that believe borders do not exist because all land is communal property. Is Dr. Murphy arguing the communist line? I don’t think so because he does admit to agreeing with Hoppe in his essay entitled “The Case for Free Trade and Restricted Immigration.”

Dr. Murphy agrees that immigrants shouldn’t trespass to make purchases or take up jobs, but finds the argument that a nation is a house to be absurd. Again, this argument is based on Murphy’s anarchist beliefs in which no proper role exists for government to protect the life, liberty, or property of its citizens. Again, in an ideal world this argument is valid. In the real world, however, evil men do exist and the citizens of the United States have delegated to their government power to define borders, to regulate trade, and to create rules for naturalization. Therefore, the nation is a house. Dr. Murphy may wish to argue whether the people have any right to delegate these powers to government, but the fact that it has already been done doesn’t invalidate the argument that a nation holding such powers is a house. I personally believe that if a man has the right to his property by defining its borders, setting rules for admittance to it, and defending it with force of arms, he may delegate such powers to the government to impose on public holdings of real-estate.

The essential point I am making is that protecting American rights isn’t the same as preventing Immigrant rights. Immigration laws won’t prevent Dr. Murphy from selling his property to foreigners. All the immigrant has to do is purchase it legally by coming to America legally. A case could be made for relaxing immigration law to allow more immigrants entrance, but even Dr. Murphy admits in doing so “new floods of low-skilled workers would push the wage in certain occupations down…. We would still see low-skilled immigrants taking jobs for wages that native-born Americans would consider unacceptable.” These immigrants would also consider these low wages unacceptable if the welfare state didn’t exist to subsidize their pay or if they had to pay taxes like citizens.

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